Why An Amazon Ad on Facebook for Leica Accessories Freaks Me Out

by Hugh Brownstone3 Comments

During this holiday season, my significant other is presented with an ad from Amazon on her Facebook page proffering the perfect gift — Leica T accessories — not for her, but for me. Whoa, that's freaky.

Feels like if we’d just hand over management of the NSA to Facebook and Amazon, all of our security challenges would be solved.

Claudia was amused as she called me over: there, splashed across the middle of her Facebook page on her iPhone, was a slide show ad from Amazon with exceptionally – unbelievably, unnervingly — narrowly targeted Leica T [B&H|Amazon] goodness which has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me.

I’ll repeat: it showed up on her Facebook feed, not mine:

Leica Ad on FB

These are outstanding holiday gifts for me – at least as good as the wish list I created for myself just a few weeks ago – targeted to the one person on the planet most likely to even think about getting them for me.

Then again, their algorithms clearly are not tied into the IRS, because then they’d know there’s no way she or I could afford them.

What’s completely freaking me out is that we were at the Leica booth at PhotoPlus Expo 2015 last month and I loved the Leica T – we filmed a quick video on it — but I opted to forgo that for the piece on Leica’s SL instead — so how did they know?

Leica T Amazon Ad on Facebook Freaks Me Out

How the HECK did Facebook and Amazon do that?

It’s pretty cool.

And pretty scary.

And my lizard brain is reaching for the “buy” button.

(cover photo credit: snap from Hugh Brownstone)


  1. I wonder, was the machine that she was viwing her facebookon was also a machine you use? You do realise that the big retailers use targeted adverts based on what you’ve been looking at …  ie if you were comiling a wish list on the same computer, the fact its in her feed may have nothing to do with the wish list and evertything to do with looking at products on the same machine.

  2. Good question. I very rarely use her iPhone, though it’s possible that one of those times I searched for the Leica T. I’d much prefer that to be the case than the alternative!

  3. HughBrownstone I only said it as I worked as a web dev for a large online retailer, so I know that many adverts are based on your cookies. Ie I view a wine on a website and then will see adverts for that wine across the web.

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